Here we go into detail on all of the words that are commonly used in the 11 plus exam papers, to help you and your child understand them better.

We also have a glossary for parents here.

Terms used in 11+ Verbal Reasoning

a shortened version of a word or phrase.

  • A.S.A.P.  “As soon as possible”

a concept or idea; something that cannot be seen, heard or touched.

the first letters of words put together as a short version and said as a single word.

a word used to describe a noun.

a word usually used to describe a verb.

words or letters put in the order in which they would come in the alphabet.

a word with an opposite meaning to another word.

a person in a story, play script or other kinds of narrative text.

a word that stands for a group or collection of things.

a word that is used to compare two things.

2 or more words put together to make a new word.

A word that joins two clauses or sentences

  •  ‘and’
  • ‘but’
  • ‘therefore’…

a word used to join together two or more sentences.

The 21 letters of the alphabet that aren’t vowels.

a conversation between two or more characters in a story.

a small or young version of something or somebody.

the actual words people say to each other.

saying no twice, so that it means yes.

a word which does not follow common rules and needs to be learned separately.

female, like a girl or a woman.

Text that has been made up by the author, about imaginary people and events.

using ‘l’ or ‘we’.

following rules; polite.

tells whether something is male or female.

a word that sounds the same as another and is spelled the same but has a different meaning.

  • ‘I want to play’ and ‘I saw a play.’

a word that sounds the same as another but has a different meaning and is spelt differently.

  • hair and hare
  • too, two, to

Language that creates a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.

  • He ran as fast as a leopard.
  • …swinging his hands like a bear.

a word that stands for a noun but not a particular one.
e.g. everything, something, anything, etc…

the name of a verb starting with ‘to’.
e.g. to wait.

relaxed and chatty

the beginning of a piece of writing, setting the scene or introducing characters or ideas.

does not follow the usual rules.

part of a sentence which contains a verb.

male, like a boy or a man.

A way of describing something by saying that it is something else.

  •  The detective listened to her tales with a wooden face.
  • I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.

a lesson that stories like fables teach a reader.

A type of 11 + question that gives you options to choose from.

the person telling the story.

saying no or not.

Text that is about facts and real people and events.

A word that names something.
e.g. ‘John’, ‘dog’, ‘love’, ‘tree’

who or what is being affected by the subject and the verb in a sentence.

words that sound the same as their meanings.

a sentence or set of sentences describing one stage of a piece of writing, separated from the next paragraph either by a line space or an indent

where someone or something is having something done to them.

a word that stands for a noun and shows who, e.g. lime, we/us, they/them, etc.

A way of describing something by giving it human feelings and characteristics.
e.g. The wind howled in the night.

a group of words which has a meaning but is not a complete sentence.

the problem or dilemma developed in a story.

more than one.

saying yes, looking for the good in things.

a word that stands for a noun and shows to whom it belongs, e.g. mine, yours, his, hers. etc.

decide what may happen next, using clues in the text to support what you say.

A string of letters that can be put in front of a root word to change its meaning.
e.g. ‘un-‘ can be added to ‘block’ to make ‘unblock’.

a word that shows the position, direction or timing of a noun.

a word used instead of a noun: he. it, they, we, you, she, etc…

how you say a word.

a wise saying, often very old

a special name (or title) of a person, place or thing.
Start with a capital letter.
e.g. Paris, John, Christmas, Sir Alfred

a piece of continuous writing, as opposed to a poem.

words which end with the same sound.

the main part of a word to which prefixes and/or suffixes can be added.

a group of words that go together to make sense. usually starting with a capital letter and ending with a full stop.

a letter that cannot be heard in a spoken word.

A way of describing something by comparing it to something else, using ‘like’ or ‘as’… ‘as’
e.g. “The stars were a thousand diamonds, glittering in the sky.’

only one.

A car, one dog, the tree…

a form of English which is used as a guide for good English.

The person or thing doing the action of a verb in a sentence. e.g. ‘I laughed.’ ,

e.g. I run.
 the bird flew.

A string of letters that can be put after a root word to change its meaning.
e.g. ‘-er’ can be added to the end of ‘read’ to make ‘reader’.

a word that is used to describe the most, the biggest, the best, the worst, etc.

part of a word that contains at least one vowel and makes one sound.

A word with a similar meaning to another worde.g. ‘big’ is a synonym of ‘huge’,
e.g. ‘small’ is a synonym of ‘tiny’

used to show if a verb is in the past, present or future.

using ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’.

An action or doing word, or a being word
To have, to be, to buy, run, is…

the range of words that a person knows and can use.

The letters A, E, I, O and U

Terms used in 11+ Maths

An angle whose measure is greater than 0° and less than 90°.

A triangle in which all three angles are acute

Angles that share a common side, have the same vertex, and do not overlap.

the part of maths that deals with finding missing numbers in equations.

the time between midnight and midday.

the time written in words using a clock with hands.

A geometric figure formed by two rays that have a common endpoint.

the surface of a shape measured in square units

  • e.g. square centimetres or cm2
  • square metres or m2

a part of the circumference of a circle.

how much liquid a container will hold, measured in litres (l) or millilitres (ml), or pints or gallons. Same as volume.

the distance around a circle.

moving around a circle or a point in the direction of the hands of the clock.

Having the same size and shape.

numbers that follow on in order.

circles that share the same centre point but have a different radius.

a coordinate is a pair of numbers used to locate a point.
The first number is the distance along the horizontal line and the second number is the distance along the vertical line.

a cube is a regular 3-D solid shape where every face is an identical square and every angle is a right angle.

the volume of a cube that is 1 cm wide, 1 cm deep and 1 cm high

cubic centimetre  = cm3

a 3-D solid shape where each surface is a rectangle (includes squares) and every angle is a right angle.

a 3-D solid with two flat circular faces joined by one curved surface.

degree (o) is the unit of measurement for

  1. temperature
  2. the unit of measurement of angles, with 360 degrees making one complete turn

A number that uses place value and a decimal point to show tenths, hundredths, thousandths, and so on.


  • 43.21

The bottom part of a fraction.

the time written in numbers, as you would see on a digital clock.

the distance across a circle passing through the centre.

to find the difference between two numbers, take the smaller number away from the larger number.

a digit is any of the numerals 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

1 dozen = 12 of something.

the edge of a solid shape is the line along which two adjacent faces meet.

a number sentence where one thing is equal to something else.

has 3 equal sides and 3 equal angles.

fractions written with different denominators, but with the same value

  • 1/2 and 3/6 are equivalent fractions

which are exactly divisible by 2
Even numbers finishes with a 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8.

flat part of a solid 3D shape.

A number that names part of a whole or part of a group

for example

  • 1 out of 4 is a quarter (1/4)

a whole number which divides exactly into another number, for example the factors of 8 are 1, 2, 4 and 8.

a visual way of displaying data; it can have bars, lines or pictures representing the data.

> sign meaning ‘is greater than’.

Example: 5 is greater than 3 = 5 > 3.

The HCF of a set of numbers is the largest number that is a factor of all numbers in the set.

a top-heavy fraction where the numerator is larger than the denominator.

triangle with 2 equal sides and 2 equal angles.

sign meaning ‘is less than’.

Example: 2 is less than 5 = 2 < 5.

the LCM of a set of numbers is the smallest number that is a multiple of all numbers in the set.

A ratio that compares the distance on a map with the actual distance.

the average value of a set of numbers, found by adding up all of the values and dividing by the number of values.

the mid-point of a set of data when the numbers are put in order of size.

the lowest value mode the most common value in a set of data.

a mixture of a whole number and a fraction.

the number in a set of data that comes up most.

A number that is the product of a given number and a whole number


  • To find the multiples of any number, multiply the number by the counting numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.
  • The first six multiples of 4 are 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24.

An arrangement of two-dimensional figures that fold to form a three-dimensional figure.

The top part of a fraction.

A mathematical phrase that includes only numbers and operation symbols


  • 30 + 34
  • 84 ÷ 7
  • 34 – 3

An angle whose measure is greater than 90° and less than 180°.

A triangle that has one obtuse angle.

a quadrilateral whose opposite sides are parallel and congruent.

a proportion when stated out of 100 and mark with % symbol.

the distance around the edge of a 2-D shape.

Lines that intersect to form 90° angles, or right angles.

a circle where sectors are marked with their areas representing the proportion of that part of a group of categories.

a number that only has two factors, 1 and itself.
the first prime numbers are : 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23….

a 3-D solid with two identical faces parallel and joined by parallelograms, which are at right angles to the end faces in a right- angled (right) prism.

The answer in a multiplication problem

  • 6 x 3 = 18 18 is the product of 6 times 3
  • 18 is the product of 6 times 3

a 2-D polygon with four sides and four angles.

one-fourth of a whole or 1/4.

the length of a straight line from the centre of a circle to the circumference.

the difference between the largest and the smallest value in a set of numbers


  • number set : 2, 10, 8, 7, 11
  • Range is: 11 – 2 = 9

A comparison of two numbers or quantities


  • 3 to 5
  • 3:5
  • or 3/5

a quadrilateral with opposite pairs of sides parallel and of equal lengths and all 4 angles are right angles.

the number left over when one number doesn’t divide exactly into another.

an angle greater than 180°.

the figure formed by flipping a geometric figure over a line of reflection to obtain a mirror image.

an angle of 90°.

A triangle with exactly 1 right angle.

turning a shape around a given point or centre of rotation, either clockwise or anticlockwise.

A figure has rotational symmetry when it can be rotated less than 360° around a central point, or point of rotation and still match the original figure.

A triangle with no congruent sides (all side lengths are different).

the name given to the vertical line going along a graph.

the name given to the horizontal line going across a graph.

the amount of space within a solid shape.

  • the point where two or more rays meet
  • the point of intersection of two sides of a polygon
  • the point of intersection of three or more edges of a solid figure
  • the top point of a cone

A display which shows relationships among sets by using ovals or other shapes to represent individual sets.

moving a shape right or left a given number of squares and up or down a given number ot squares.

A movement that doesn’t change the size or shape of a figure is a rigid transformation.

a method of recording data using short lines, one for each object or count, grouped into fives for easy addition.

a shape has symmetry when it can be divided into two equal, mirror images.

A fraction is in simplest form when the numerator and denominator have no common factors other than 1.

a set of numbers where there is a pattern determining the difference between each term of the series.

Understanding these terms will go along way towards your child passing their 11 plus examination.

We’ve also got articles on the best way to pass the CEM 11+ exam, and we also provide practice papers for the 11+, which can be used to get used to the format and be much better prepared for the exam day.


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